Battelle to expand in West Jeff

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Four representatives of Battelle Corp., a science and technology research com-pany, spoke before West Jefferson Village Council on Dec. 15. They explained that Battelle wants to expand its facilities in West Jefferson, but can’t unless it can plug into the village’s water system.

Battelle has separate water treatment systems at each of its sites on Route 142. The EPA recommended the set-up back when the buildings were built. Now, the EPA doesn’t recommend separate waste water treatment facilities. That means Battelle must find a way to improve the capacity of its existing system, which representatives say is unlikely to solve the problem, or tie into West Jefferson’s water infrastructure.

“We really want to grow at the facility here [in West Jefferson],” said Anthony Hebron of Battelle.

In response to the situation, West Jefferson Council passed three ordinances pertaining to Battelle’s expansion. The first authorizes Mayor Scott Hockenbery to enter into a pre-annexation agreement with Battelle. This means Battelle and the village agree they want Battelle’s property annexed into West Jefferson and that Battelle will file a petition with Madison County to have the property annexed. The measure also states that West Jefferson will provide Battelle with water, at the normal price, and a sanitary sewer, and that Battelle will construct a storm sewer, which  will be placed so that any future businesses in the area can access it.

The second ordinance creates a new type of zoning district, called a “research industrial district.” Once Battelle is annexed into West Jefferson, Battelle’s property will fall under the new designation.

The third ordinance states that West Jefferson will inform the Madison County commissioners that the village intends to provide fire protection, police protection, emergency medical services, and water and sewer services to the annexed property.

The first two ordinances passed 6-1, with council member Sheila Nelson casting the dissenting vote each time. The third ordinance passed unanimously. After the votes, council President Darlene Steele welcomed Battelle to West Jefferson.

“I look forward to you being part of the village,” she said.

According to Hockenbery, Battelle’s expansion could bring 150 to 200 new jobs to West Jefferson.

In other business:

• Council approved the transfer of $51,000 from the general fund to cover shortages in the street maintenance and sewer funds. Finance Director Jack Herrel said he isn’t sure what caused the shortage, or even if there was one main reason. In discussion, council members suggested that the September wind storm or the high price of street salt could be the culprits.

• Herrel announced that the repairs to the osmosis water treatment facility are complete and that the repairs used up all the money allocated for that purpose.

• Hockenbery reported that HER Realtors won the first Christmas decorating contest for village businesses.

• Jim King thanked his fellow council members for their guidance in his first year on council.
“We’ve had our humps and bumps along the way, but it’s worked out good,” he said. “I’m looking forward to another year.”

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